everything and anything, from tortillas to stocks and bonds. for 10,000, 10,000 an eighth. today, as in the past, economic systems lie at the heart of how a society is organized. archaeologists search for these systems because they believe economies hold the key to understanding ancient societies. archaeologist william sanders. the economy of any given human group, any culture, is a powerful factor that affects the rest of that culture -- the social organization, the political institutions, even the ideology, the religion of a people. from my perspective, the economy of a group is one of the most powerful determinants of human behavior. keach: to archaeologists, all economies fall somewhere on a spectrum from simple to complex. in a simple economy, people grow or gather all the food they eat. they make all the things they use.